Young Leaders Empowering Community: The Maningrida Dance Crew

This program was more than dance.

A recent Red Dust program at  Mamaruni School proved the musical legacy of Minjilang is safe in the hands of the next generation of young people.

The community of Minjilang on West Arnhem’s Croker Island is famous for its musical heritage, both contemporary and traditional, having produced the likes of Nathan Fejo, long time Red Dust collaborator musician and educator.  

The Maningrida Dance Crew, better known as MGD, are a dance group made up of six young people from the remote community of Maningrida, West Arnhem Land.  The group  aim to inspire and engage their peers across Arnhem Land through the universal language of dance.  

The crew first came together when they entered and won their debut dance competition in Darwin and performed (and again won) interstate. They have gone on and continued this winning streak almost every year since. Since then, they have established their own company that is set on sharing skills, stories and lessons.

As a result of the requests from students at Minjilang’s Mamaruni School, who follow MGD on  Tik-Tok and YouTube, Red Dust were able to bring the crew to the small island community to create a big week of dance workshops and performances, story sharing, and a big disco at the local rec hall on the final night.

Alongside movement activities the crew aimed to impart lessons on self-esteem, teamwork, and how to overcome challenges. This blend of culture, art, and education — all articulated through the medium of dance — reinforced the belief that when we come together in celebration of our talents, we can uplift not just individuals, but entire communities. One facilitator said, “We encouraged the kids to not hold shame...everyone got into it”.  

“It was so good to see young mob – those guys are still students themselves, over in Maningrida – stepping up and teaching like that. I was really inspired. For me, even up until recently, I was nervous to stand up in front of a group. It was so impressive, they handled it all pretty well. They are only 14, 15 years old”, Nathan Fejo, Traditional Owner, Musician & Red Dust Facilitator

The program helped foster community spirit and strengthen connection by using the universal language of movement. We can’t wait to see what’s next for these kids at Mamaruni School, and their new mates from MGD.

Are you ready to be a part of the Red Dust story?

Give a tax deductible donation to support programming.



  • Maningrida Dance Crew
  • Mamaruni School